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Honor-A-Colleague: R. Scott Farrow

2020 Honor a Colleague Recipient

R. Scott Farrow

Professor Emeritus, Economics

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Scott Farrow is being honored for his many contributions to the practice of benefit-cost analysis through research, government service, teaching and for his extraordinary service to the Society for Benefit Cost Analysis.  Dr. Farrow was a founding editor of the Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis and played a major role in growing SBCA in the early years of the society. In recognition of these contributions, Dr. Farrow was awarded the SBCA Richard Zerbe Distinguished Service Award in 2014.

Dr. Farrows research has demonstrated repeatedly how solid applied microeconomic research and analysis can better inform public policy discussions.  His research work has spanned many areas of policy but has always been driven by real policy problems and recognized the complexity of behavior in daily economic life. He studied the implications of mixed political and economic decision-making for offshore oil and gas leasing-.  He brought a similar perspective to research on air and water pollution trading including consideration of the value of exchanging some economic efficiency for political consensus and the welfare implications of analysts assuming that government spending is constant in revenue recycling models.  He adapted integrated economic and risk models to inform homeland and cyber security investments.  In short, his work provides an example, particularly for new researchers, of how an applied economist can build a professional life that makes tangible contributions to advancing public policy.

Unsurprisingly, Dr. Farrows focus on the reality of human behavior has been informed by extensive work in the government and the private sector.  He conducted macro-economic modeling in the Carter Executive Office of the President, econometric modeling of offshore oil and gas leasing in the Department of the Interior, brought an economists perspective to the White House Council on Environmental Quality in the senior Bush administration, and focused on risk, economic performance and homeland security issues while Chief Economist of the GAO immediately following 9/11.   Internationally, he traveled extensively in Central Europe for the US AID through the Harvard Institute for International Development, promoting market-based approaches to the environment.  In the private sector he consulted on domestic and international environmental issues including a multi-billion-dollar oil and gas development.   

This rich professional life of research and service provided the foundation for his work teaching the next generation of benefit-cost analysts and applied economists.  It allowed him to help his students develop  not only needed analytical tools, but also a grounded understanding of the role they could play in public policy with these tools.  His ability to communicate the meaningfulness of this work helps explain the enthusiasm of his current and former students and colleagues in supporting this campaign, which in part honors his retirement from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), though not from professional life. 

Dr. Farrow received a B.A. in economics from Whitman College (cum laude, 1974) and a Ph.D. in economics from Washington State University (1983). Scott served on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in both the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management and the Dept. of Engineering and Public Policy, at Pennsylvania State University, and most recently at UMBC. He has a long-standing association with the Marine Policy Center at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and CREATE (Center for the Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events) at the University of Southern California. He has served in the federal government as Chief Economist of the GAO and Associate Director/Ranking Senior Economist of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 

If you would like to make a contribution to Honor a Colleague, please visit here.

The Society would like to express our gratitude to Sandra Hoffman for coordinating and implementing this campaign in Scotts honor.

In addition to a major contribution from UMBC, the following individuals contributed to honoring Scott Farrow:

  • Richard Aiken
  • Glenn Blomquist
  • Timothy Brennan
  • Maureen L Cropper
  • Peter Doeringer
  • Robert Farrow
  • Arthur Fraas
  • Pinar Geylani
  • Thomas Ginding
  • David Greenberg
  • Robert Hahn
  • Sandra Hoffman
  • John Jeffries
  • Di Jin
  • Nicole Katsikides
  • Alan Krupnick
  • Robert Lewis
  • Kelly Maguire
  • Kenneth McConnell
  • David Mitch
  • Clark Nardinelli
  • Lisa Robinson
  • Michael Scott
  • Kerry Smith
  • Craig Thornton
  • W. Kip Viscusi
  • Detlof Winterfeldt